Woman who cut off husband’s penis gets 7 years to life in prison

Catherine Kieu was sentenced to seven years to life in prison for cutting off her estranged husband's penis.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
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A Garden Grove woman was sentence to seven years to life in prison Friday for drugging her estranged husband, cutting off his penis and throwing it into a garbage disposal.

The sentence came two months after Catherine Kieu, 50, was convicted of torture and aggravated mayhem and includes a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife.

Kieu’s public defender argued that her husband verbally and sexually abused her and demanded sex in ways that pained her. The lawyer also said that Kieu had mental health issues stemming from being molested as a child in Vietnam.


Kieu was arrested on the night of July 11, 2011, after she and her 60-year-old husband -- whose name has not been released -- apparently argued about the possibility of a friend staying at their home, prosecutors said. Kieu prepared an Ambien-laced dinner, causing her husband to become drowsy and go to bed.

As he slept, Kieu tied his legs and arms to the corners of the bed with rope, prosecutors said. When he awoke, prosecutors said, she pulled down his pants, grabbed his penis and cut it off with a knife.

She then went to the kitchen, threw it in the garbage disposal and turned the disposal on, prosecutors said, “mutilating the organ.”

Kieu called 911 and said her husband was bleeding, prosecutors said. The man then spoke to the dispatcher and said his wife had cut off his penis.

Garden Grove police arrived and the man was rushed to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. The Times previously reported that emergency surgery to reattach the severed organ was unsuccessful.

Prosecutors said Kieu -- who they said was angry because her husband was dating an ex-girlfriend -- screamed “You deserve it!” before the attack, the Associated Press reported. Police told The Times after the arrest that Kieu had told officers her husband “deserved it.”


In a statement at the sentencing, Kieu’s husband said she “viciously deprived me of part of my life and identity.” He said, “I now struggle with what is before me. She has torn off my identity as a man. She has caused doubt in my belief in good. She has betrayed my trust in people.”


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